Former exec sues Moffitt Cancer Center, says he was wrongfully ousted over alleged ties to China

Thomas Sellers, PhD, filed a lawsuit against H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, alleging he was ousted from his role as director and executive vice president over wrongful accusations of ties to a controversial Chinese research program, leaving him "nearly unemployable," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The lawsuit was filed against the Tampa, Fla.-based cancer center and a former colleague, Sheng Wei, MD.

In the lawsuit, Dr. Sellers alleges employees were first encouraged to collaborate with China on research and then later forced to resign for it. The suit alleges the cancer center wanted to distance itself from the Thousand Talents program, which recruits researchers to China and attracted NIH-FBI investigations at academic medical centers around the country. However, Dr. Sellers says he was not involved with Chinese research. Instead, he alleges Dr. Wei forged his signature on an application to the Thousand Talents program. Dr. Sellers also alleges he unknowingly signed paperwork to open a bank account in China, according to the report.

Moffitt director of strategic communications Mark Hendrickson told the Tampa Bay Times the cancer center stands by its actions and plans to defend itself against legal action.

Read the full story here.

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